Only One Life: How A Woman’s Every Day Shapes An Eternal Legacy

Day 3 of 7 • This day’s reading


Legacy of Rescue

In 1822, Harriet Tubman was born into slavery. She never knew her exact birthday, but she was sure about her relationship with God through Christ. 

Despite being beaten and whipped throughout her childhood, she kept the hope that she would one day escape. With that hope, she said plainly, “Liberty or death–one or the other, I mean to have.”

Around the age of twenty-seven, Tubman made good on her vow and fled to Philadelphia, 150 miles to the north. However, she could not enjoy her newfound freedom knowing that so many relatives and loved ones remained in bondage. She immediately began leading rescue parties back to eastern Maryland. She believed the Spirit of God guided and helped her as she carried out these dangerous rescues, instructing her about which routes to take, where to hide, and when to keep moving. She took pride in saying she “never lost a passenger.”

The people she rescued called her “Moses,” for obvious reasons. Yet her commitment to helping the oppressed continued long after slavery as an institution ended. Tubman founded a home to care for the elderly and sick people without families. Virtually penniless, she spent her final years as a resident in one of the very homes she had established years earlier. She died at the age of ninety-two, poor yet with a rich legacy of people she had rescued. 

The impulse to be free seems to be hardwired into the human soul. God never intended for one human to dominate or own another. Just as slavery was not present before the fall, it will not be present at the end, and in Christ its injustice will be set right. Whenever we reject God, enslavement and bondage arise. The liberating power that Jesus Christ unleashed on the world in the first century has proven to be the most potent force the world has ever seen for rescue.